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Archive for March, 2009

God can be found anywhere we look if we will open our eyes and allow him to reveal himself.   God does not always show himself in the bold and obvious but often in the subtle, the underlying meaning of something. It is in the deeper meaning that we suddenly discover that what looks like a mere coincidence has been transformed into the profound!    This clip is an illustration of the transformation from the “coincidental” to the profound.   This clip contains an image of something occurring naturally coincidentally looks like something that reminds us of our Savior. Only when we learn it’s function and purpose do we see the profound. This is an excerpt from a message entitled “How Great is Our God.”

Prepare to be awestruck!

I first saw the video at the Blog Walking Therein.   Drop by and check them out!

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Update on Freemind

I was just visiting the Freemind website and Freemind has made into the top 12 of “Best Project for Educators” category.  I don’t know who the deciding body is but if you read my earlier post you know that I love the program and I agree whole heartily that it is a great program.

They also have a “release candidate” for the latest upgrade that is loaded with new features.  A “release candidate” is one step above Beta testing and is a broader distribution that is offered for final testing.  If you choose to use a release candidate of any software, be sure to understand the limitations and know bugs before converting your existing data to the release candidate version.  If you like to have a part in the development of great software, using and reporting problems during Beta testing and the testing of a release candidate is an excellent way to get involved.  It is not without risk but the more testers there are, the more robust and feature rich a program is when it is finally released.

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Miracles Abound!

On another note, I’d like to take a few lines to share how God has shown his miraculous power at my church, Eastridge Christian Assembly.

We are in the middle of a large building project that includes a sanctuary that will seat just a few short of 1500.  The building will be community oriented with a large atrium, kids area the includes a “splash mountain” style motif, and a long list of other amenities that will make it a great family oriented place for our congregation and the community.  I will try and keep this as short as possible but bear with me as this is quite a “hallelujah list.”

We started our building fund long before we even had a piece of property so for those who have been down this road, you know we started off doing it differently from the very start.  All of the property that had been considered was determined to be unsuitable for one reason or another.  After about two years of adding to the building fund we were no farther along in acquiring any property than we were on day one.  Pastor Steve preached a sermon about God’s feeding the Israelites mana in the desert.  God could have given them, quail, doves, or any other food with which they were already familiar.  He gave them mana so that they could never explain it in any other way but to acknowledge that it was a miracle of God.  The next day, one of our members (who had not heard that Sunday’s sermon) called the Pastor and said that he had a friend who was in some financial difficulty and he had 19 acres that he needed to sell as soon as possible.  The property was two blocks from our current location and our land use lawyer said that in twenty years of looking for property for churches, it is was the best piece of property he had seen.  It was priced way below market and because our building fund already had two years accumulation, we were ready to buy.  The way the property came to us and the timing was just like mana in the desert.  God’s timing is perfect.

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… If you do research either as a teacher or an older student, the this program may just be what you need.  I am a big fan of free software and there is a tremendous amount from which to choose in a variety of subjects but, until now, I had not seen a well thought out program for collecting research notes beyond using either the old index cards or an electronic version thereof.  Enter ZOTERO!  A free add on for the Firefox Web Browser which I might add is also free.   (I have used MS Explorer, Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome and both Mozilla’s Opera and Firefox.    I keep them all installed on my computer so that I can check any HTML or web design to insure that my work is readable on the widest variety of browsers.  After using all of them I prefer Firefox for browsing, but I digress.)  Let’s get back to ZOTERO.

ZOTERO is written by researchers for researchers and even though the target audience is the hardcore research community, one 5 minute perusal of the programs capabilities via their ZOTERO Demo will likely convince you that it this tool has applications in the homeschooling community as well.  It could serve for lesson preparation particularly for unit studies but more likely the older students will find it a great tool for research projects and papers they are required to write.  College bound students?  I WISH I had this program when I was in college!

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I have developed a small following already and I just wanted to drop by and tell you that I am still here.  This week is Breakthrough Week at our church.  We are in the middle of a building program and each year at this time we have a fund raising week that we call Breakthrough.  We have been blessed for the last several years by the ministry of Pastor John K. Jenkins Sr. from the First Baptist Church in Glenarden Maryland.  Pastor Jenkins is arguably one of the best preachers in the US today.  We have been inspired, challenged and blessed each night as he has encouraged us in this process.

So we are home late each night and the blog is one of the many things that gets postponed until this week is through.

Thanks for stopping by and I will return to blogging more on subject in a couple of days.

Blessings!

Larry

I know it wasn’t profound but maybe someone else might like it?

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A short post today.  The week has been busy but nothing significant to talk about so I thought I would ask a question.

If you could do your first year over again, what would you do differently?  What advice would you give a new homeschooling family to make their first year a success?

I am asking this abviously for my own edification but also because I know that a lot of people who have kids in private schools are considering home schooling.  The current economic conditions are such that an increasing number of parents are opting for home school over private school.  The decreased tax income will cause cities and municipalities to cut back on public school programs which will result in increased class sizes and a plethora of other changes that will cause even more parents to opt for home schooling.  I expect that we will see the largest increase in home schooling families either this year of the next.

So please, help us with all your best piece of advice.

Thanks from all the first year home schoolers!

Speaking of the current economic crisis, I’d like to recommend and excellent blog on the subject.  (See Storehouse Partners Blog under Favorfite Links to the right)   I know the outlook is gloomy but the writer is both pithy and humorous and you will have more than a few “Aha!” moments as you read her take on the matter.   She avoids most of the jargon and gives it to her readers in an easy to read and understandable manner.  She predicted this economic crisis 5 years ago.  The August 8th entry explains how we got into this mess in a way that anyone who reads it will understand.  If you have to read anything about the financial mess we are in, at least read something that will make you chuckle and smile a bit amidst the fear and uncertainty.  Yes I am a bit partial … the writer is my lovely wife but if you take the time to stop by I know you will become a fan.

Blessings!

Larry

Please pass it along. I could use the advice.

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I have been a photographer since high school and for those who have not yet read the blog introduction and tried to guess my age, I was in high school at the end of the 60s.   Yes, I will be 57 this year and later this year I will start homeschooling my two sons who will be in the 2nd and 4th grades.  It’s OK, do the math.  Everyone else does.

I sat down tonight to crop a bunch of pictures to use in the header.  Generally when I am taking pictures, I am thinking in either horizontal or portrait format and in a ratio of 4 to 5.  We photographers also like to use the rule of thirds in our composition.  In a nutshell it says that the image will look better if the horizon is either one third of the way up from the bottom or one third of the way down from the top.  The same general principle applies to vertical objects and their proximity to sides of the images.

So what does all this have to do with homeschooling and my blog?  Well as I mentioned when I am taking pictures I am thinking or visualizing the final image at a ratio of 4 to 5.  The blog header requires a ratio of 4 to 1.  Not 4 to 5 … 4 to 1.  I have to think out of the frame (box) in order to recompose these images to fit the header requirements.  Thinking out of the box will be a trade mark of mine as I endeavor the teach my kids over the next few years.  Like every parent, I want the best for my kids but I am known for taking the road less traveled.  I will rely on standardized curriculum and other resources to keep me and the kids on track for learning what they need, but some of it, maybe a lot of it, will be out of the frame or box.  This blog is about the trip down that less traveled road and all of the stuff that I find lying around the box.

So, back to the header images.  I will endeavor to change the header image each day but at the very least I will change it each time I post to the “this guys to old to have kids that young and try to home school them too” blog.

Thanks for reading!

Larry

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Flashcards

OK, so I was Stumbling again.  Yes I know, it COULD be a problem but I think I can control it.

Today’s Stumbling gem is a Flash Card website called Flash Card Exchange.   This site has over 18 million flash cards in every category that you can imagine.  The site uses a Tag Cloud search format which makes it fairly easy to find cards in the subject of choice.   You can print the flash cards and there is even an applet that assists you in creating your own.   I am guessing that with 18 + million already on the website, you will probably find what you need.

If you are not familiar with tag clouds, you will be seeing more of them so here is an explanation.  A tag cloud is nothing more than a “cloud” or cluster of key words that are assigned to the items on a website.   The “items” may be articles, images or in this instance, flash cards.  What makes the tag cloud format unique is that the words in the tag cloud are sized according to the number of items to which the tag refers.  In other words, the larger and bolder the word relative to the other words in the “cloud”, the more items that tag refers to on the website.

Go Stumble!

Larry
Surely someone else you know needs flashcards. Right?

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